What Dan Quinn had to say after final Falcons rookie camp practice

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What Dan Quinn had to say after final Falcons rookie camp practice

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Falcons coach Dan Quinn instructs players during rookie minicamp. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

The Falcons on Saturday held their final practice of the three-day rookie minicamp. Coach Dan Quinn addressed media afterward. Here are some excerpts:

Opening statement

“We had an awesome on-field camp. The next portion for the guys is we are back into the classroom tonight and we will be doing some things tomorrow but it won’t be on (field) practice. And then Monday we will be back at it with our whole team together. So man we are excited to get everybody kind of acclimated. They (the rookies) got a taste of what the culture can be like that, a taste of the practice tempo that we want to do. And now we got a sneak preview of how to feature them with the other guys. It was a very productive weekend on a lot of fronts. Guys were really battling for it today. The communication was better, the speed was better. We were really encouraged today.”

On fostering competition with non-football activities

“There was definitely basketball involved. After the ending of the (Wizards-Celtics) game last night I don’t think basketball could not be involved today. There are no ties. We had some guys tied so they had to go for it at the end. There were pushups involved. We had a good weekend. Honestly the communication today player-to-player was significantly better than yesterday, which you expect it to be. But the communication as better, the intensity was better. I was pleased with the effort.”

On the feedback he got from rookies about the team atmosphere

“I have not spoken to anybody specifically about that but I want them to know what they are about to join into. There is a standard set by many men before them that arrived here and will be here long after the are gone. So it’s their responsibility to be a part of it and uphold it. These small things about how you conduct yourself in the locker room with your teammates, that happens over the next month with the team.”

On his impressions of running back Brian Hill

“No. 1 is just the size. You can feel that right away. He’s got the ability to make one cut and get vertical. We were happy with him coming out of the backfield (on pass plays). He didn’t have a lot of pass catches during his (collegiate) career. Is that something he can do? He did a good job today. I saw him really bust it on special teams. That really has to be a part of his role.”

On Duke Riley’s special-teams role

“We had a good talk about special teams and the role, and the difference between being on the (53-man roster) and being on the (46-man game day roster), being in sweats on game day (vs.) having a helmet on and going to battle. They all recognize so badly, ‘I want to go out and compete that I am going to find that role on teams.’ If you are not playing offensive line or quarterback there has got to be a role that you can dig for. The amount of time they put in offense, defense, you’ve got to make sure the special teams portion is getting that share too.”

On how much coaches can take away from two days of practice with rookies

“You can take away a lot, actually, after two days. You want to stress, put as much on them as you can to find out how they handle that. You want to see them compete under pressure. We want to see what kind of competitors they are. Thankfully (the weather) got nice and hot today so that added a little bit of extra stress to it. Acclimating with new guys. All of those new stresses to put on to see how they perform. So we are constantly evaluating: how you can learn in a classroom, how you can learn and perform in a walk-through, can you really practice at a high speed and be under control. For two days we tried to find out as much about them to take them as far as we can.”

On tight end Eric Saubert

“He’s a little bigger than I thought. We knew he could run just based on times. Getting him acclimated , I was pleased to see him over the last two days not only offensively but teams as well, he can run and that showed up. For a guy who covets that like I do, I was pleased. First two days, arrow definitely up.”

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